CORINTH — As bad a start as the Ryan Lady Raiders have had in District 6-5A this season, it wasn’t near as bad as knowing that a long and dubious streak was still alive and well heading into Tuesday’s road game at Lake Dallas.
Ryan, losers of its first five district matches this season, hadn’t won in district play since Oct. 22, 2019 — a span of 21 straight matches. Three of those losses during that stretch were to the Lady Falcons, who, ironically, were trying to start their own streak after knocking off Grapevine last week.
One streak came to an end, and the other never got started.
Behind 12 kills from Halli Keese and 11 more from Darla Crow, Ryan finally exorcised its district demons while rolling to a 26-24, 25-17, 25-18 sweep. Crow finished with a .526 hitting percentage and chipped in three blocks. Shian Blacksher added 21 assists and Kanisia Haley added 17 assists.
“It was a good game. It was nice to see that we were more consistent for the whole match,” Ryan coach Nicole Black said. “Darla blocked well, hit well — that helps us a lot. They fed off the energy and weren’t as streaky as we’ve been.
“This was huge. We were playing great in the preseason, and then a cloud came over us. We’ll see what happens next.”
Lake Dallas coach Kristinn Holbrooks declined to comment on the loss.
Both Ryan (23-15, 1-5 district) and Lake Dallas (11-14, 1-5) are desperately trying to climb into the playoff hunt as they near the halfway point of the district schedule. Lake Dallas, however, couldn’t recapture the magic that led it to a massive win over Grapevine on Friday. The Lady Falcons had 14 unforced errors in the first set as Ryan erased an 11-9 Lake Dallas lead with a 14-7 run. It was much of the same in the second frame, with Ryan going on an 11-5 surge in another tight contest.
By the time the third set came around, the Lady Raiders had all the momentum.
Ryan led 11-4 at one point early in the final frame. Lake Dallas narrowed the deficit to 18-17 but only scored one point the rest of the way. The performance overshadowed an otherwise solid night from Caelyn Gunn, who finished with 12 kills, 14 assists, eight digs and three blocks. Ashley Machuca added seven kills, and Rachel Armstrong chipped in five.
“We typically start slow, especially in a Game One. We did that tonight, but we won it and did the same thing in the second,” Black said. “We didn’t let [the slow starts] get us down, though, and that’s great to see.”
Ryan will be back in action on Friday against Justin Northwest while Lake Dallas takes on Richland.
“We’ve got Northwest next. But this will be good for us. The district is very competitive,” Black said.